Friday, August 21, 2009

Health Care for profit or not for profit should we change the rules?

I was reading a post from the "Wonk Room" that had some interesting statistics that got me thinking. Here we are in August with the giant health care debate raging in the country. We have a Health Care Industry out of control, HMO's with profits through the roof and a thousand page bill to ad government into the mix. It you want to know how efficient the government part will be, look at the bill. The bill is so complex, even the President can't explain it and obviously doesn't understand it.

In my opinion; The Health Insurance Industry must be a not for profit industry and bound by the rules and regulations of that public sector, rules that are already in place. To make a profit on the health and well being of it's members goes beyond obscene and Machiavellian in every sense of the word. Today this industry makes it's profit by withholding health care, refusing to insure sick people, hireing banks of clerks to side tract and deny claims and dictate who can and can not have life saving procedures based on a formula. HMO's also manage non-profit hospitals and clinics. Not only do they insure for services, they supply the same services. This presents a giant conflict of interest.

The profits of the Health Insurance Industry has steadily risen and so have the salaries of the executives who run them. Take a look at the 5 top earners

Insurer: ............Company Profits: .........CEO Total Compensation:

Group ..................$2,977,000,000 ................$5,030,000
WellPoint ............$2,490,700,000 .................$4,070,000
Atena ..................$1,384,100,000 ................$38,860,000
Humana ................$647,000,000 ..................$2,390,000
Cigna .....................$292,000,000 ................$30,016,000

(Data source

The question I want to ask is: How many more people could have insurance if they were run as non-profits? I did some very rudimentary math and came up with the following data just using the table above and the Health Insurance Industry figure that the average costs to the industry is $8,160 to per person. I further gave the executives a generous non-profit salary of $654,000 per year.

Here are the results: 964,203 additional people could be insured. And that's just the 5 top companies and their CEO's. How many more policies could be gleaned from the entire industry?

As a non-profit these additional policies could be "scholarship" or "hardship" policies that are given to people and families when they can not afford COBRA, or earn too little to purchase a policy and earn too much to fall under Medicaid.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Politics of change - 1966

Note: This new President with his Chicago friends has brought me back to places I would sooner forget.

Politics of Change December 17th 1966

To the Zealot - Humans have no worth – an object, a tool
Whose death would serve the purpose
Of some crazy whack job ideology
Anonymous, passionless
Killing for a cause
Nameless faceless corpses
Luck - destroyed the shoebox
Today no one died
A plane full of solders
Fresh for the fight
a college girl going home
Christmas break
Shaken, lived
All the way to O’Hare
hold the hand - a sobbing soldier on my right
Less than 24 hours from the gore of combat
Incapable of understanding why
A countryman tried to end his life – for an idea
Another has my left arm in a death grip
His face is ashen, teeth clenched, sweating in the cold cabin
The stewardess serves whiskey – Lots of whiskey - free
The only sedative
Non of us 21, accept the calming amber drug without a word
All done is silence - all in slow motion
Landing with a lurch
Our bags follow us
Military escort expedites all protocol
A silent nod –not understanding
We scatter in the night
St Louis terminal lay in shambles.